Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted December 18, 2017
Most Caring Cities? Honolulu Ranks 34th
Dan Ahuna: Give Mauna Kea to OHA so I can Profit from it
CB: …Appropriate management will only be achieved when control over the mountain is wrestled away from the university and an entirely new management structure is installed.
Ultimately, this is the goal of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ lawsuit that was filed in November…. (But not yet filed with UH.)
Perhaps the biggest management failures are found in the inadequate leases, subleases and conservation district permits for Mauna Kea…. (Land and power, baybee!)
Probably the most egregious flaw with the subleases is their rents — or the lack thereof. (Yes. This is all about money.) Instead of charging sufficient rent to help cover the cost of managing the mountain’s natural resources, the university has negotiated free viewing time from the observatories in exchange for nominal or gratis rents.
To this day, no observatory pays more than $1 a year for use of the mauna. This means that taxpayers and students are left to foot the bill for the management of natural and cultural resources…. (He didn’t use the word ‘sacred’ even once in this essay.)
It’s time for a complete overhaul of the management structure on the mauna…. (Put OHA in charge so they can form another LLC.)
OHA’s Record on Land Management:
read … Dan Ahuna Grifting Again
How Tickets Forced 16 Homeless to accept Housing
CB: …Earlier this year, though, Prichett walked into the District Court on Alakea Street to find he had 34 traffic tickets and three bench warrants.
“I couldn’t keep them all straight in my head,” said Prichett, 61. “I had so many tickets I lost track of all my court dates.”
He was four years into homelessness and had been to court so many times the bailiff recognized him. Prichett told the judge he wanted an attorney. At the Office of the Public Defender, he learned about Community Outreach Court, a program that would resolve his legal issues and lead him to services that put a roof over his head.
Today he lives in a clean and sober house and is looking for permanent housing and a job.
Nearing its first anniversary, the fledgling court program has helped Prichett and 34 other people dig themselves out of what he calls “that deep hole with all the tickets” in exchange for community service hours rather than jail time or fines.
The program is available to defendants with low-level, nonviolent offenses, including being in a park after hours, camping without a permit and driving without a license.
State Public Defender Jack Tonaki calls them “homeless-type citations.” ….
Through November, eight court participants have found housing, and another eight entered shelters….
Prosecutor: So far 58 defendants have participated in COC, 599 non-violent cases have been cleared, and 635.5 hours of community service have been performed.
read … This Court Offers The Homeless A Fresh Start Instead Of Punishment
Bus fares set to increase 17% Jan. 1
SA: …Honolulu bus fares are going up, starting Jan. 1, 2018.
The one-way fare for an adult will increase by 25 cents to $2.75, (10%) as well as $10 more to $70 for a monthly pass (17%), which is good for unlimited usage on regular and Express! service during the month purchased.
Monthly, one- and two-year bus pass rates will change starting Wednesday, Dec. 20, with the sale of the passes valid on Jan. 1, 2018. Annual adult passes, available from TheBus’s pass office at Kalihi Transit Center, will increase to $770 from $660 (17%)….
read … Bus fares set to increase Jan. 1.
Freeze property tax hikes
SA: Now that we all have reaped huge gains on residential and other properties, according to recent city appraisals (“Movin’ on up,” Star-Advertiser, Dec. 14), it’s up to City Council members to make a decision. Will they absorb this windfall and spend it, or will they act responsibly to their constituents and call for a freeze on property tax increases?
Should they decide to take the money and lavish it on the city employees, Waikiki Natatorium restoration and Neil S. Blaisdell renovations, it will increase Honolulu citizens’ misery.
Increasing property taxes takes money right out of the hands of Honolulu families, both homeowners and renters….
read … Freeze
B&B owner sues county over Disgusting, Filthy ‘Clean’ Energy Project Hu Honua
HTH: …A Hilo bed-and-breakfast owner is suing the county’s Planning Department and Windward Planning Commission, seeking an environmental review of the Hu Honua biomass power plant under construction in Pepeekeo.
The civil suit, filed by Claudia Rohr on Nov. 27 in Hilo Circuit Court, also requests construction of the 30-megawatt power plant be halted until an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment has been completed.
Hu Honua Bioenergy and its parent company, Island BioEnergy, are not named as defendants.
In the suit, Rohr alleges the project’s primary discharge structure for industrial storm water into the ocean is in a “current condition of disrepair … does not fulfill its intended purpose of settling out sediment from storm water, and it obviously needs alterations, repairs” and the location of the structure “is entirely within the shoreline area,” which necessitates an EIS or EA under the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act….
The suit also claims if the power plant is completed and burns locally grown timber to generate electricity, as planned, logging trucks will negatively impact Rohr’s bed-and-breakfast, which is in Hilo’s Keaukaha neighborhood, and East Hawaii tourism in general.
“I feel the logging truck traffic … coming up from Pahala, going through downtown, going up to Pepeekeo, and also coming down the Hamakua Coast … is incompatible with my business,” she said. “I feel as though visitors are going to avoid coming to Hilo. It’s a 30-year project.”
The project has seen numerous setbacks and delays, including lawsuits, liens and layoffs. Hu Honua sued Hawaii Electric Light Co. after the Big Island utility cancelled a power purchase agreement in 2016 because of Hu Honua’s failure to meet certain deadlines. The suit was settled in May and HELCO and Hu Honua reached an amended and restated power purchase agreement that was approved by the state Public Utilities Commission in July.
In late August, the environmental advocacy group Life of the Land filed an appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court seeking reversal of the PUC’s approval of the power purchase agreement, asserting the regulatory panel didn’t consider the emission of greenhouse gasses when it green-lighted the project.
“It is critical that state regulatory agencies consider climate change,” Henry Curtis, executive director of Life of the Land said in a statement at the time. “And the PUC is specifically required by law to do so.”
Related: Full Text--Hawaii Supreme Court Rules 3-2: Anybody Can Now Sue Anybody for Dirtying the Environment
read … B&B owner sues county over Hu Honua
Medicated Dispensaries Selling Hash—Need More HGEA Positions filled so they can sell Butane Honey Oil
SA: Seven of 11 positions are vacant at the Department of Health, which oversees the medical cannabis patient registry and dispensary licensing programs. The registry is down three of six people, while the dispensary program has four vacancies out of five….
Many patients don’t want to smoke, and rely on dispensaries for alternatives including vaporized oils, capsules, lozenges and topical lotions, she said. However, the state has still not certified a lab to test those products.
DOH rules also ban dispensaries from selling devices such as prefilled cartridges used in vaporizers, so patients must fill their own cartridges with a syringe, she added. The dispensaries can sell concentrates such as oils, wax and hashish….
“Dispensaries are still operating under vague and cumbersome interim rules that encourage patients to smoke or seek black market alternatives,” Gorman said. “This demonstrates the absurdity of allowing the sale of concentrates while prohibiting the most common method of administration. Imagine a new cancer patient coming into a dispensary only to discover she can’t purchase what she needs to get quick relief from pain or nausea without smoking. These delays hurt patients and drive costs up. Greater product diversity and lower prices will not result from additional dispensaries if the regulator is understaffed, overwhelmed and unresponsive.”
The DOH has faced scrutiny from lawmakers and others in the industry for a delay in installing its cannabis software tracking system and the slow certification of laboratories to test the drug’s potency and purity before it can be sold to patients….
The Health Department said it issues roughly 1,500 patient cards each month. The registry had 19,750 cardholders as of Nov. 30, compared with 11,402 on Jan. 1, 2015, when DOH took over the program….
Aloha Green Apothecary said it has had 2,302 patients, more than 30 percent of the registered patients on Oahu, since opening in August…..
Dispensaries are also frustrated the state has still not issued final rules for the program and is still operating under interim regulations, she said.
“The current regulatory climate is like playing in a sports league where the rules are constantly changing and the referees aren’t sure how to apply the rules,” Cho said. “Currently, there is only one referee to officiate and answer questions for eight licensees spread over the entire state on four islands. It would be foolhardy to expand in such an uncertain climate.”….
read … Selling Hash
Civil Beat: Con-Con Could Write Assisted Suicide and Legal Weed into Constitution
CB: …A recent Civil Beat Poll found two-thirds of registered Hawaii voters want another con con. They also want citizen initiative, referendum and recall; term limits for legislators; a statewide lottery; all-mail voting; and medical aid in dying.
Many of these issues are introduced nearly every biennial session of the Legislature, but most are never even given a hearing.
In the case of medical aid in dying, it was passed solidly in the Senate last session but held for unsatisfactory reasons — and without even a vote — in the House.
All-mail voting has passed both chambers the last three sessions, only to die mysteriouslyin conference committee.
These are sometimes complicated, sometimes emotional issues. Another idea we polled, allowing for recreational marijuana, was opposed by 55 percent of respondents. But if legislators refuse to act on these matters, a con con could allow the people to go over their heads. And remember, whatever comes out of a con con would still require voter approval….
read … Doped up and Killed off
Aloha Stadium-goers prefer fixes, not new facility
SA: …The top three suggestions from a recent survey of Aloha Stadium visitors conducted during the University of Hawaii’s football season, and focused on football games: Upgrade sound system, screen more video replays (fewer ads) and expand Wi-Fi availability in the 50,000-seat facility.
All are cheap-and-easy fixes compared with the No. 4 pick: New stadium. A governor-appointed panel is eyeing a 30,000- to 35,000-seat replacement that costs an estimated $324.5 million in current dollars….
SA: An athletics budget without a deficit now looks more elusive than ever.
read … Aloha Stadium-goers prefer fixes, not new facility
How Many Whales will be Killed by Anti-Superferry Protesters This Year?
SA: “Collisions between whales and (whale-watching) vessels (operated by anti-Superferry Pacific Whale foundation) occur annually, presenting serious risks to boaters as well as the whales,” said Edward Lyman, the sanctuary’s large whale entanglement response coordinator. “Whale calves are particularly vulnerable because they are difficult to see and surface more often.” …
Members of the public that see see an injured or entangled marine mammal are asked to keep a safe distance and call NOAA’s hotline at 888-256-9840 or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 immediately.
Reports of vessels coming too close to a whale can be reported to the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Marine wildlife viewing guidelines and safety tips are available at the following link…..
read … Save the Whales
Poor will be Forced to Endure Snobby Rich People
SA: The design for a planned residential tower near Walmart’s urban Honolulu store no longer has a front door for market-priced condominium buyers and a side door for moderate-income renters….
According to a City Department of Planning and Permitting report, the original tower design featured commercial tenant spaces on the first two floors and affordable rentals on levels three through eight facing Makaloa on the outside of the tower’s parking garage. The 9th floor included some condo units and amenities exclusively for condo residents. The 10th and 11th floors contained more affordable rentals while the 12th through 41st floors contained condos….
(How many elevator discussions about free-range chicken can poor people survive?)
read … Why is the City Punishing Poor People Like This?
Sex Harassment: Alex Kozinski, 9th Circuit Appeals Court Judge, Retires—Trump to Name Replacement
AP: The judge's retirement comes amid an investigation into 15 sexual misconduct allegations against him….
Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas issued an inquiry into the allegations against Kozinski, now 67, on Thursday following the first report by the Washington Post of six women who said Kozinski had expressed lewd comments or exhibited inappropriate sexual behavior toward them, including showing two former female staffers pornographic images.
Kozinski's announcement comes three days after the Post published a second report identifying nine additional women who served as former clerks or lower-rank staffers under Kozinski and were also subjected to infelicitous comments, and four of whom said he touched them inappropriately….
read … Happy Day for President Donald J Trump